You can find more information regarding this film on its IMDb page.
Walter Huston .... Abraham Lincoln
Una Merkel .... Ann Rutledge
William L. Thorne .... Tom Lincoln (as W.L. Thorne)
Lucille La Verne .... Midwife
Helen Freeman .... Nancy Hanks Lincoln
Otto Hoffman .... Offut
Edgar Dearing .... Armstrong (as Edgar Deering)
Russell Simpson .... Lincoln's employer
Charles Crockett .... Sheriff
Kay Hammond .... Mary Todd Lincoln
Helen Ware .... Mrs. Edwards
E. Allyn Warren .... Stephen A. Douglas (as E. Alyn Warren)
Jason Robards Sr. .... Herndon (as Jason Robards)
Gordon Thorpe .... Tad Lincoln
Ian Keith .... John Wilkes Booth
- Closed captioning
- D.W. Griffith
- Run time
Subject: Can I dub this film....
Please tell me if I can dub this film in my local Manipuri language..and distribute in dvds...Hope this film is very important and so want to distribute among young people in my local area...Ours is very remote place in India...
Please allow me to dub in my local language....
Subject: Interesting Document of Civil War Iconography and Early Cinema
A few thoughts:
Only one negro appears in the film (who appears to actually be a white man in blackface)-- and he is a butt of ridicule.
The confederate flag in the movie is historically questionable.
John Wilkes Booth's speech at Ford's theater is included, while Lincoln's Gettysburg Address is completely absent from this film.
Hobart Bosworth delivers the most realistic performance as Robert E. Lee (although lacking a convincing Southern accent). (Many of the Illinois residents seem to have Southern accents.)
The film was adapted for the screen by none other than Stephen Vincent Benet.
Walter Huston's performance of Lincoln's character is ponderous and wooden, and his didactic refrain: "For we must preserve the Union!" gets to be quite tiring, if not amusing to a modern viewer who might be expecting a "punch line".
Perhaps most interesting is that this movie is very similar to many modern movies which tend to dumb down history, toss in a gratuitous romance, and replace nuanced arguments with homilies.
This movie if remade today (by the formulaic requirements of Hollywood marketing) would likely be little different than as it was first produced here by D.W. Griffith.
Nevertheless, a truly moving and nuanced film about Lincoln, his conflicts and his complex personality would be a film that (even today) screams out to be made.
UPDATE November 2010: Spielberg is making a movie about Lincoln starring Daniel Day Lewis:
Subject: For Pete's sake, look at Griffith
As far as the "accuracy" of this film goes, let's first take this into consideration. This is a 1930 film. Sixty-five years have already passed the country by. This is a time that no one seems to take into account the severe difference of media and record keeping versus present day. There are no motion pictures from the Civil War era because no motion pictures existed yet.
Let us also briefly look at the movie industry. Q: Why was it in existence? A: To make copious amounts of money. So why would Griffith make a historically accurate, socially unacceptable, non-money-making film? He wouldn't. Griffith instead made a film that twists some facts, appeals it to the crowds, and makes a lot of money. He did not set out to make educational films.
When you look at a piece of history, you can't look at it in a vacuum. We must look at all the ventures of 1930 surrounding the creation of this film. What was society like then? How did people feel then? We cannot go blindly into this comparing this piece of HISTORY as an accurate resource of information on Abraham Lincoln. We must view and internalize it for what it is, not what it isn't.
Lastly, if anyone here has seen any other Griffith films, they would know his style, his prejudice, and his utter disrespect for many peoples. Obviously a man who encapsulates the KKK as a group of heros has issues (Birth of a Nation). Birth of a Nation had become such a powerfully negatively angled movie, it ended up sparking racial riots.
It seems obvious to me, on an issue such as this, Griffith's work on Lincoln cannot be viewed as historically accurate, but rather used as a window into the mentality of that period of time as opposed to now.
Who cares if they got Lincoln's birthday wrong. This film was obviously not created to teach the truth, but to preach a disposition.
Subject: Lincoln was born in Kentucky
Lincoln was born in KY, moved to Indiana when he was 7, and LATER moved to Illinois.
Subject: an inaccuracy?
Subject: Abe is OK
Subject: Did not watch the movie
Subject: Medveds be damned!
Walter Huston, brilliant actor as he is, I dont think quite pulls off the role here. His Lincoln is awfully stiff, goes dreamy eyed when making Some Significant Statement. Actually, all the acting is quite stiff here, I guess being the time, they were still doing Silent Movie Acting and not quite getting the rythym down yet for sound films. Least person to know this is the actress playing Mrs Lincoln, who always jumping around, acting acting acting.
As for the story, Im not American, so I cant really judge of whats true or not, but it does make coherent sense, So I have no complaints about this really.
Subject: An Interesting Look at Abe Lincoln
Subject: Abe Lincoln
Subject: Saint Abe Lincoln - one generation removed
Subject: Classic Griffith